February 23, 2016

Experiencing Greater Relational Intimacy

Written by Shana Schutte

Experiencing Greater Relational Intimacy 2.23

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 23, 2016

By Shana Schutte

This I command you, that you love one another. John 15:17

In his book, “Soul Cravings” Erwin Raphael McManus writes eloquently about intimacy and love. “We are most alive when we find it, most devastated when we lose it, most empty when we give up on it, most inhuman when we betray it, and most passionate when we pursue it.”

Most passionate when we pursue it? Hmmm. . . it reminds me of Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians in Chapter 14 verse 1:

“Pursue love,” he writes.

Wait a minute. Isn’t love supposed to just find you, like you just “find” a hole in the middle of the street when you fall in? Sure, love may initially require little effort, but to experience deep long-lasting, intimate love requires a passionate pursuit, just like Paul said. This passionate pursuit sounds vague and for that reason it seems impossible. After all, what does it mean to pursue love? Most of us have never been taught about developing emotional intimacy with another human. We’ve learned how to tie our shoes, do algebra, balance a checkbook, cook lasagna and maybe change the oil in our car; but no one has ever taught us how to pursue love.

Here’s one way to pursue it:

There are keys that open just about every door on planet Earth. I have one to my car door, the door to my home and even the door to my jewelry box. Intimacy is the same. There is one particular key to open the Intimacy Door in your relationships: it’s called the Key of Acceptance. Because intimacy means that we allow another person to “see into” us and they allow us to “see into” them, the Key of Acceptance must be used. After all, no one wants to allow someone who is controlling, judgmental, critical, sarcastic, unforgiving, abusive, selfish or just plain nasty to “see into” their heart.

So if you want others to open their hearts to you, you’ve got to give them a safe place to do so. Why? Because the truth is that while most of us may act like we’re not afraid of anything, in the deepest part of ourselves, our hearts are very tender, fragile and generally fearful of relational pain. For hearts to thrive in intimacy, they’ve got to feel safe and accepted.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Prayer:  Lord, please help me to be a safe person so others will share their hearts and lives with me. Let me be an example of your love. Amen.

Application: Read the list of the attributes of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 and write them down. Next, think about each one and ask the Lord to reveal to you if you need to improve on any of them, such as patience or kindness. If you find you do, ask Him to change you and empower you so your love looks like His.

Related Readings: 1 Peter 4:8; Colossians 3:12-13

Post/Tweet this today: You can experience greater emotional intimacy in your relationships. #WisdomHunters #Acceptance

Worship Video: 4 minutes – All Sons and Daughters: Let it Shine

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